Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Moving Online Education to a Leadership Position

Dr. Peter Shea from the University of Albany found that all the hoopla about online education being second class compared to on ground education was simply untrue. Concerned about the results of a limited study which found that those who engaged in online classes were less likely to finish college were based upon outlier information. He decided to conduct his own study but instead used national data to generate his results.  Generally, the greater the amount of information included in a study the higher its validity.

Spending on colleges has come under increased scrutiny as budget woes have reared their ugly head. Using data from a 2009 Beginning Post Secondary Student Survey, conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, it was found that those who entered online classrooms to obtain an associate’s degree were more likely to graduate. With national graduation rates low, policy makers are concerned not only about return on investment of college in general but also future preparation of the nation. 

Online education has been abused as not worthwhile with a wide range of people joining in the apple throwing. However, over the past few years other similar studies and surveys are finding that in some respects online education may actually be superior to traditional education.  According to Allen & Seaman ( 2013) nearly 70% of U.S. Academic Vice Presidents found that online learning outcomes are as good as or better than ground based classroom courses. 

The growth in online education is remarkable as transient students seek opportunities to maintain their educational goals despite changing lives and demographics. Students may change jobs, locations, and even their lifestyles but online education allows for consistency.  It also provides for very rich interactive content that is not often gained from physical settings. If online education is slightly beating odds as a disruptive technology today imagine what the field is going to look like in the next 10 years. Is there still doubt?

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